Schools might reopen on 9/22 according to County’s new COVID tier

A Cupertino High School student awarded a Cutler-Bell Prize.

The State of California moved Santa Clara County down one tier from Purple to Red Tuesday afternoon. It comes as the state moves forward with its new classification system, introduced in late August.

With the move to the Red Tier, a number of indoor activities are able to reopen, with modifications. Large-scale testing also continues across the county, at by-appointment and walk-up sites.

Top of mind for many parents is that schools can reopen once the county has been at this level for two weeks. That would be September 22. Any school that does reopen must follow guidelines from the county and the state.

“We are pleased at this sign of progress in the fight against COVID-19, but we remind our residents that all local requirements involving the number of people who can enter a facility, face covering requirements, and social distancing protocols remain in effect,” said James R. Williams, County Counsel for the County of Santa Clara.

What else can reopen?

Hair salons and barbershops, which opened August 31 for indoor services, can remain open. Some personal care services can reopen too. The county’s ordinances still prohibit indoor dining, movie theaters, or any indoor gatherings. Malls can increase their capacity from 25 percent to 50.

Gyms and fitness centers are also able to reopen now, though at just 10 percent capacity. Many other business can reopen as long as they follow the county’s risk reduction order from July.

The red tier means that the county is seeing “substantial spread” of COVID-19, down from “widespread.” The county is still seeing a 7-day average of 175 cases per day, as of Monday. That is down from a high of nearly 300 cases per day on average in mid-July.

“It is critical that the businesses and activities that reopen today follow the public health directives so that we can maintain our community’s progress in bringing down COVID-19 transmission,” Williams added.

If the county’s metrics continue to improve, the state can consider further reopenings in three weeks.